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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Links - 15th May 2010

"The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has." - Will Rogers

***

Bus of love in Copenhagen - "A Copenhagen bus company has put 'love seats' on 103 of its vehicles for people looking to make a new friend ... or even something more. 'Even love at first sight is possible on the bus'... 'Some drivers have noticed smiling girls sitting in these seats,' hoping for interesting company"

A Well-Executed Second Date - "You have to choose a place that is within walking distance from your apartment. No one will follow you back to your place via car, or worse, public transportation (eww, gross). That’s just plain slutty. There’s nothing more awkward than a car ride back to your date’s place, where a deafening silence overcomes the vehicle as both of you think about what’s about to come/cum... It can’t look staged: clean your room, but make sure it looks a little disheveled. Perfectly clean rooms are almost as uncomfortable as pigsties"

Facebook Tries to Make Violations of Terms of Use Into Criminal Violations - "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal judge to dismiss Facebook's claims that criminal law is violated when its users opt for an add-on service that helps them aggregate their information from a variety of social networking sites... If any violation of terms of use is criminal, users who shave a few years off their age in their profile, claim to be single when they are married, or change jobs or addresses without updating Facebook right away would also have violated the criminal law"

Spidey Halts Robbery - "The saying ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’ ringed true as ‘Spider-Man’ foiled the ploy of a shoplifter, with some help from the Flash and a couple of Jedi knights."

Updated: Facebook Further Reduces Your Control Over Personal Information - "Even for an innocuous interest like cooking, it’s not clear how this change is meant to benefit Facebook's users. An ordinary human is not going to look through the list of Facebook's millions of cooking fans. It's far too large. Only data miners and targeted advertisers have the time and inclination to delve that deeply... Facebook has consistently ignored demands from its users to create an easy "exit plan" for migrating their personal data to another social networking website, even as it has continued — one small privacy policy update after another — to reduce its users' control over their information."

Oviedo woman says she fatally estranged husband by accident after rough sex - "She told police that Robert Cline III, 41, was being too rough, that she told him to stop, he didn't, so she got a .38-caliber handgun, pointed it at his chest, warned him again, but he only laughed and leaned toward her, according to her arrest report. The gun went off accidentally, she told police, and still he did not get off her, so she quickly pulled the trigger twice more, wounding him at least once more. Cline then rolled off the bed and onto the floor, and she got a knife and stabbed herself in the belly to make it look like she had acted in self-defense, according to her arrest report... She and Cline had been separated about three months, she told police, but still, they got together every Monday for sex"

Father has face sliced open in racial attack as his son, 5, watches in horror - "'I was with my son and a girlfriend when this mob of 20 Asian youths came up to us. They were saying "Your lot killed one of ours" - meaning white people killed an Asian lad... One of the guys was acting aggressively and the group was swearing and hurling racist abuse. They attacked me because of the colour of my skin. They were very racist'" I'm sure some people will be calling this racist. The article, not the attack

CatGenie - The World's Only Self-Flushing, Self Washing Cat Box

Elva Hsiao admits to eyelid procedure - "[She did it] at her late mother's behest... "Not only do my eyes look bigger, my luck is getting better. My album ("Diamond Candy") became an immediate hit," said Hsiao, who added that she had snagged quite a number of music awards, and managed to avoid getting into bad relationships since her surgery... Hsiao also pointed out that the procedure shaved one hour off the time she needed to put on make-up and go out. "I rather spend that extra hour sleeping instead of putting on make-up," she said, during a promotional event in Taiwan on Monday. Previously, Hsiao had to spend two hours putting on eye make-up, painstakingly position false eyelashes and apply tape to her eyelids to create the illusion that she had double eyelids. She takes an hour more if she needs to do her hair. According to her manager, Hsiao once kept singer Stanley Huang waiting for almost three hours while she dolled herself up, before attending an event with him"

Man jailed for sex with minor - "One night, Kwek asked the victim if she wanted to play 3P, a slang for threesome having sex together. The victim agreed... Kwek had sex with his fiancee, followed by the victim, and then with the fiancee again. After the incident, the fiancee told him not to have sex with the victim again as she regretted having 'shared' her boyfriend with someone else. But Kwek had sex with the victim when they were alone at home on Dec 24"
I finally find out what "3P" is. And I love the fiancée's line. I wonder if the fiancée reported him when he had sex with the girl again..

Is Sex Necessary? - "The best that modern science can say for sexual abstinence is that it's harmless when practiced in moderation. Having regular and enthusiastic sex, by contrast, confers a host of measurable physiological advantages, be you male or female. (This assumes that you are engaging in sex without contracting a sexually transmitted disease)... In women, sex also prompts production of estrogen, which can reduce the pain of PMS... Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to retard tooth decay. Since this is a family Web site, we will omit discussion of the mineral delivery system. Suffice it to say that it could be a far richer, more complex and more satisfying experience than squeezing a tube of Crest--even Tartar Control Crest. Researchers have noted, parenthetically, that sexual etiquette usually demands the brushing of one's teeth before and/or after intimacy, which, by itself, would help promote better oral hygiene... But is there such a thing as too much sex? The answer, in purely physiological terms, is this: If you're female, probably not. If you're male? You betcha... Women who abstain from sex run some risks. In postmenopausal women, these include vaginal atrophy. Dr. Winch has a middle-aged patient of whom he says: "She hasn't had intercourse in three years. Just isn't interested. The opening of her vagina is narrowing from disuse. It's a condition that can lead to dysparenia, or pain associated with intercourse. I told her, 'Look, you'd better buy a vibrator or you're going to lose function there'""

OpenDislike - "OpenDislike is a simple way to tell other sites about the things you dislike on the web"

Man marries his dying cat - The Local - "Postal worker Uwe Mitzscherlich decided to marry his 15-year-old black and white cat Cecilia because she may not have long to live... “Cecilia has such a trusting nature,” Mitzscherlich told the paper. “Between us there is an inner bond, a harmony of hearts – it’s unique.” The two met some 10 years ago when he was vacationing on the Baltic Sea coast. The love between them was so strong that when the 39-year-old, who lives in Possendorf near Dresden, realised that his asthmatic and overweight feline friend would likely die soon, he decided to make it official... Dressed in a tuxedo with a top hat, the groom held his bride, who wore a tiny wedding gown. The ceremony was complete with flowers, a wedding march, vows and a kiss"

Scientists create men with emotional sensitivity - "Women be assured: it's not men's fault. They just don't have enough Oxytocin. All it takes, according to German scientists, is a healthy dose of the hormone linked to female reproduction and men can be as caring, sensitive and empathic as women."
Now it's time to create women with rationality.

Dictionary definition of 'siphon' wrong for 99 years - "An OED spokesman said the offending entry was written in 1911, by "editors who were not scientists""

Working overtime increases heart risk, a study finds - "People who regularly put in overtime and work 10 or 11-hour days increase their heart disease risk by nearly two-thirds, research suggests."

Facebook Executive Answers Reader Questions - "Q: Why not simply set everything up for opt-in rather than opt-out? Facebook seems to assume that users generally want all the details of their private lives made public.
A: Everything is opt-in on Facebook. Participating in the service is a choice."
Sounds like Singapore. Like it or Leave.

Worst-Paying College Degrees - "10. Drama
9. Fine arts
8. Hospitality and tourism
7. Education
6. Horticulture
5. Spanish
4. Music
3. Theology
2. Elementary education
1. Social work... They say that crime doesn't pay. As this list seems to point out, neither does helping people"

Schoolchildren 'routinely monitored' by CCTV - Telegraph - "Schoolchildren are as likely to be monitored by CCTV as prisoners or international air travellers... As many as 85 per cent of teachers have reported the use of CCTV in their schools and one-in-10 said cameras had even been placed in toilets. According to the study, some schools are also using other techniques such as fingerprinting, metal detectors, electronic identity cards, eye scanners and facial recognition systems"

Ayn Rand, Hugely Popular Author and Inspiration to Right-Wing Leaders, Was a Big Admirer of Serial Killer - "There's something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people froth at the mouth at the idea of giving health care to the tens of millions of Americans who don't have it... The U.S. is seemingly the only place where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor... One reason most countries don't find the time to embrace Ayn Rand's thinking is that she is a textbook sociopath. In her notebooks Ayn Rand worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of "ideal man"... "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should"... Other people don't exist for Rand, either. Part of her ideas are nothing more than a ditzy dilettante's bastardized Nietzsche... The fear that some felt at the time was that these philosophers' dangerous, yet nuanced ideas would fall into the hands of lesser minds, who would bastardize Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and poison the rest of us. This aptly describes Ayn Rand... "If [people] place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral"... Rand also despised democracy"

Japan panics about the rise of "herbivores"—young men who shun sex, don't spend money, and like taking walks. - "Grass-eating men are alarming because they are the nexus between two of the biggest challenges facing Japanese society: the declining birth rate and anemic consumption. Herbivores represent an unspoken rebellion against many of the masculine, materialist values associated with Japan's 1980s bubble economy... Japan has rarely needed its men to have sex as much as it does now. Low birth rates, combined with a lack of immigration, have caused the country's population to shrink every year since 2005... "We don't care at all what people think about how we live"... In response to the herbivorous boys' tepidity, "carnivorous girls" are taking matters into their own hands... before World War II, herbivores were more common"

Strange Geographies: Searching for the “Real” Venice - "The signs for Piazza San Marco are everywhere, and they take every conceivable form, from official-looking placards to handwritten signs taped in windows to graffiti spray-painted by locals, undoubtedly sick of being asked, in halting, guide-book Italian, Scusi, dov’e Piazza San Marco? My strategy was simple: whenever I saw one of these signs, I turned on my heel and went the opposite direction. This resulted in my getting hopelessly, desperately lost over and over — truly accurate maps of Venice do not seem to exist — but I would argue that the only way to begin to find Venice is to get lost in it."

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Ne rentrez jamais chez vous à l'improviste"

"Ne rentrez jamais chez vous à l'improviste - si votre femme n'est pas seule, vous l'ennuierez ; si elle est seule, vous vous ennuierez"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sponsored Video: The New X300 from LG

Links - 13th May 2010

"Admiration, n.: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves." - Ambrose Bierce

***

This Is Twitter, There Are Rules: How AFP Stole a Photographer's Work, Then Sued Him

Zettai Ryouiki: Achieving the Perfect Zone - "The rough translation of Zettai ryouiki is known as “absolute territory”. It’s defined by the area of bare skin seen between a skirt and thighhighs... Zettai Ryouiki, has 5 levels ranging from Grade A to E"

Sicko Marriage Contract One For The Ages - "He actually drew up a bizarre four-page marriage document--a "Contract of Wifely Expectations"--that sought to establish guidelines for his spouse in terms of hygiene, clothing, and sexual activities. In return for fulfilling certain requirements, Frey (pictured right) offered "Good Behavior Days," or GBDs"

Liberal activist ,blames the 'white man' for being raped by a Black man.

3 charged in New Zealand vampire blood-drinking attack - "They were all charged with wounding with the intent to render a man unconscious... he said drinking blood "wasn't my agenda," telling the paper, "Do I look like a vampire? I'm out during the daytime." The Dominion Post also reported that Orr refers to himself as "the.vampire.marius" from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles on his Facebook page. Orr, who looked pale, also responded: "Do I look like a vampire?" when confronted by a reporter after Thursday's hearing, before refusing to comment further."
I like "wounding with the intent to render a man unconscious."

Pakistani couple dodges jail time in Dubai for having sex in car - "The 28-year-old man and his 24-year-old wife successfully argued in the appeals court that their car should be treated like a private house. Their lawyers argued that because of the car's tinted windows, a policeman who had raised the charge could not have seen what the couple was doing inside."
I prefer the "Indian couple... sentenced to three months in jail for exchanging steamy text messages"

40 Thai foods we can’t live without
14 of these have pork, 2 have pork as an optional ingredient and 3 are drinks or desserts. Halal Thai food seems to be severely lacking.

Isn't GRC system affirmative action? - "If affirmative action is frowned on by minorities themselves, why does the Government insist on keeping the group representation constituency (GRC) system in the political landscape?... Does it make sense that the minorities in Singapore need affirmative action only to protect their political rights and everything else can be based on meritocracy? The minorities have spoken. They have the ability to achieve progress under the national system of meritocracy. The Government should recognise that and abolish the GRC system. We are no longer living in the past The GRC system, as an affirmative action policy, can take our nation only one step forward in theory and three steps backward in nation-building."
It's only affirmative action if we're told it's affirmative action.

Cops: Airport screeners' quarrel about private parts leads to beating - "Screener Rolando Negrin's private body parts were observed by his Transportation Security Administration colleagues conducting training on the airport's full-body imaging machines"

MSNBC: ObamaCare Protesters ‘Racist,’ Including Black Gun-Owner | NewsBusters.org - "MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally...wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip....there are questions about whether this has racial overtones....white people showing up with guns." Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black... Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black"

Tyrannybook - "Amnesty International – Portugal and Leo Burnett Iberia launched Tyrannybook, a social network dedicated to the surveillance of some of the world leaders who violate Human Rights the most."

Why Would Anyone Want to Blow Up Times Square? - "When news comes of Muslims engaging in violence, the triad of politicians, law enforcement, and media invariably presumes that the perpetrator suffers from some mental or emotional incapacity... You can't win a war if you don't have the courage to name the enemy... I expect that naming the enemy will occur only after a cataclysm ends our patience with minced words"

Malaysian couple sue 'trigger-happy' police - "The couple drove off but the two policemen in the car allegedly started "shooting wildly, without warning" after a 3-mile (5-kilometer) chase in a suburb in central Selangor state, he said. At least three bullets went through the car, one of which pierced the passenger seat and hit Siti Nasrinda's waist, he said. Another bullet apparently grazed her headscarf but missed her head by inches, he said... Activists say more than 180 people, half of them Indonesians, have been shot since 2007 without any police officers known to have faced action"
Malaysia Boleh!

Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin - "Dale McAlpine was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” after a homosexual police community support officer (PCSO) overheard him reciting a number of “sins” referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same sex relationships... Police officers are alleging that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and have charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act... “My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn't apply.” Christian campaigners have expressed alarm that the Public Order Act, introduced in 1986 to tackle violent rioters and football hooligans, is being used to curb religious free speech. Sam Webster, a solicitor-advocate for the Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr McAlpine, said it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is a sin... The Public Order Act, which outlaws the unreasonable use of abusive language likely to cause distress, has been used to arrest religious people in a number of similar cases"

Shanghai Is Trying to Untangle the Mangled English of Chinglish - "Although some Chinglish phrases sound awkward to Western ears, they can be refreshingly lyrical... “They provide a window into how we Chinese think about language.” He offered the following example: While park signs in the West exhort people to “Keep Off the Grass,” Chinese versions tend to anthropomorphize nature as a way to gently engage the stomping masses. Hence, such admonishments as “The Little Grass Is Sleeping. Please Don’t Disturb It” or “Don’t Hurt Me. I Am Afraid of Pain.” Mr. Yao read off the Chinese equivalents as if savoring a Shakespearean sonnet. “How lovely,” he said with a sigh. He pointed out that this linguistic mentality helped create such expressions as “long time no see,” a word-for-word translation of a Chinese expression that became a mainstay of spoken English."

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice

"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half." - Gore Vidal

***

Upping the Antifa: Leftist riots feared for May Day - The Local

"In radical left-wing circles they’re known as “sport groups” – teams of young men whose game is beating up neo-Nazis.

“Maybe a punch in the face … then I’d say, ‘Okay, he’s lying on the ground, that’s enough.’ I don’t want to kill anybody”...

Although he has retired from "sport" and moved into more organised political activity, Lukas says he’s still comfortable justifying violence against neo-Nazis...

“A friend once told me, ‘You have to speak the language that people understand.’ Those guys, the neo-Nazis, they don’t understand any other language. Why should we be the only ones to refrain?”...

For the first time since the current system of record-keeping began in 2001, assaults committed nationally by the left outnumbered those by the right...

While he admits that car-burning has become a fashionable “cult,” he maintains that attacks on the upmarket property developments in Kreuzberg are a legitimate expression of anger – and are a real deterrent to gentrification...

The banners for the radical left are broad, even nebulous concepts: anti-militarism, anti-repression, anti-fascism...

Leftists bristle at the suggestion that increasing violence is in danger of making them as bad as the neo-Nazis they hate. As Lukas the former “sportsman” puts it: “The difference is that we don’t go around beating immigrants. And I don’t see a problem with attacking people who do.”

Yet left-wing radicals’ defence that they only attack property, neo-Nazis or symbols of the state – including police during demonstrations – is fiercely rejected by authorities and by the police union...

“In their expressions of violence, the extreme left and extreme right are barely distinguishable from one another”"


The further to one extreme you go, the more like the other extreme you seem. So you have people against wiretapping who support Chavez who do not see any problem.

The first comment is quite sad:

1) "What is the essential difference between beating up a neo-Nazi because of what he is and beating up an immigrant for what he is?"

A neo-nazi CHOOSES his path of intolerance and inhumanity - an immigrant doesn't. If you really can't see the difference then you're probably half way to becoming one yourself. Anyone battering a Nazi of any sort is a human hero.

2) "The best way to stop this is to eliminate May 1. After April 30 goes May 2. Problem solved. Heh."

It's funny proposal, but then you'd go directly from Hitler's Todestag (April 30) to the anniversary of the Red Army's conquest of Berlin (May 2). That might be too much Vergangenheitsbewältigung bzw. Geschichtsaufarbeitung at one stretch.

3) If the British National Party is "the only party that truly reflects the wishes of the British people," let's see how well it does in the elections next week.

4) One problem is that we are taught to view the differences between communism and fascism according to WEALTH. In that, they are different. The fascists allow private wealth. Communists disallow wealth.

However, we should be taught to view governments on how they govern. In that, the far left and far right are essentially IDENTICAL. Both rule as dictatorships that use fear and force as primary methods. Plus the elimination of individual rights, free speech, etc.

From this article, I can see SOME difference between Germany's left and right wing extremes--but only in ideology, not in their actions.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blackonomics at Harvard / Barack Obama and White Privilege

"Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs." - P. J. O'Rourke

***

Blackonomics at Harvard

"''I basically want to figure out where blacks went wrong"...

To [Roland] Fryer, the language of economics, a field proud of its coldblooded rationalism, is ideally suited for otherwise volatile conversations. ''I want to have an honest discussion about race in a time and a place where I don't think we can,'' he says. ''Blacks and whites are both to blame. As soon as you say something like, 'Well, could the black-white test-score gap be genetics?' everybody gets tensed up. But why shouldn't that be on the table?''...

[Lawrence] Summers -- who is also an economist and a fan of Fryer's work -- is still being punished for his musings. There is a key difference, of course: Summers is not a woman; Fryer is black.

Fryer well appreciates that he can raise questions that most white scholars wouldn't dare. His collaborators, most of whom are white, appreciate this, too. ''Absolutely, there's an insulation effect,'' says the Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser. ''There's no question that working with Roland is somewhat liberating.''

[Ed: i.e. Black Privilege]

Glaeser and Fryer, along with David M. Cutler, another Harvard economist, are the authors of a paper that traffics in one form of genetic theorizing. It addresses the six-year disparity in life expectancy for blacks versus whites, arguing that much of the gap is due to a single factor: a higher rate of salt sensitivity among African-Americans, which leads to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney disease...

In Fryer's view, [W.E.B.] DuBois alone had the appetite to rigorously round up the facts and concepts and emotions that constitute race and then crack them open one by one. Separated by a century, their missions are identical: to study -- and maybe even help fix -- the condition of being black in America...

He is convinced that Harvard did not hire him because of affirmative action -- and if he found out otherwise, he said, he would quit tomorrow...

Fryer's particular science places a high premium on avoiding the personal, the anecdotal. The data are what matter in economics, and the more ruthlessness that an economist can summon to make sense of the data, the more useful his findings will be.

Fryer seems to have successfully internalized this creed. He once told me, without a hint of irony or self-pity, that his upbringing, while generally awful, actually provides an advantage. I asked why.

''My father screwed me over so bad that he made my emotions like a lever,'' he said. ''I learned how to turn them off and on. And that's what's needed when you study race''...

Fryer has a huge appetite for advocacy but a far larger appetite for science, and as a scientist he won't exclude any possibilities, including black behaviors, from the menu of factors that contribute to the black condition"


Barack Obama and White Privilege

"Black writer Shelby Steele argues that whites do blacks no favors wringing their hands about white privilege.

"I grew up in segregation," Steele told me. "So I really know what racism is. I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem."

Steele claims, "the real problem is black irresponsibility. ... Racism is about 18th on a list of problems that black America faces."

Whites' preoccupation with guilt and compensation such as affirmative action is actually a subtle form of racism, writes Steele in his book "White Guilt". "One of the things that is clear about white privilege, and so many of the arguments for diversity that pretend to be compensatory, is that they advantage whites. They make the argument that whites can solve [black people's] problems. ... The problem with that is ... you reinforce white supremacy. ... And black dependency.

"White privilege is a disingenuous idea," he adds. In fact, now there is "minority privilege."

"If I'm a black high school student today, there are white American institutions, universities, hovering over me to offer me opportunities. Almost every institution has a diversity committee. Every country club now has a diversity committee. I've been asked to join so many clubs, I can't tell you. ... I don't have to even look for opportunities in many cases, they come right to me.""

Singapore: world capital of the city-dormitory (Part 3)

"Q: If you find so much that is unworthy of reverence in the United States, then why do you live here?
A: Why do men go to zoos?" - H. L. Mencken

***

(continued from Part 1 and Part 2; photos on GEO France's website)

Singapour, capitale mondiale de la cité-dortoir
(Singapore: world capital of the city-dormitory) (Part 3)


"In the paradise of conformity, it's in intimacy that one differentiates oneself"
"It's above all in domiciles that particularities between different religions express themselves. The faith of each is respected, but the State shows itself to be very fussy regarding religious "harmony" and with "signs" like the tudung... In public schools, for example, it is forbidden"


"Families rush to rent one or two pieces to the immgirants"
"In penetrating little by little into the heart of HDB blocks, one comprehends that it is unnecessary to find urban life elsewhere in the city because it is there, everywhere... The city interferes until the threshold of each appartment, reducing to a bare minimum the private sphere, to the benefit of public space. When a habitant adventures into a corridor empty of graffiti, he puts his foot into a world where everything is forbidden: dogs, cats, bicycles, rollerskates... Forbidden to bring and leave (?) one's affairs, to stock personal objects, to smoke, to eat, to throw paper; and offender beware. Everything is under the control of invisible surveillance cameras hidden in lift cars where, we say, there're also urine sensors.

The city is outside, and inside is life... [In Bendemeer] the "one rooms", reserved for singles, retirees, the unemployed, indigents or the sick... Lee Tong, a 55 year old Chinese... has lived for 40 years in the same room, a lost cell in the middle of an immense metallic corridor, lit along its 10 metres by a jaundiced light [?], like the belly of the Nautilus. A room like a cabin, "closed" by an airlock of steel trellises [?]. The furniture? A sofa and a table, 3 chairs and an immense TV flanked on its sides by a Buddhist altar and a gigantic aquarium. Lee Tong has 2 hobbies: Karaoke and a "Lohan Fish", an enormous fighting fish which pirouettes at the slightest sign in order to offer drawings of money on its flanks... His neighbors are ready to pay to view the fish and play [4D] with its numbers."


"She is supported by one of multiple charity organisations which assist the disadvantaged and replace the State in matters of social protection"
"Anjali Prakash is of Indian origin... Bedok, south of the megapolis, is a haven of integration for arrivals from the sub-continent...

In the HDBs of the North and the East, in Punggol or in Tampines, in the new 4- and 5-room projects, executives or retirees of the rising middle class, Chinese Buddhists, Christians or Malay Muslims, discover contemporary furniture and international kitsch. So the kindness of liberal economics which permits them to send their children to study overseas and discover the real world. And maybe stay there. It is not good to grow old in a country where social protection is very reduced so as not to incite laziness, the "scourge of Western cities".

It's up to the youth to repaint the future... In this society with a million straitjackets, all forms of art are a rebellion. A form of resistance... The motley tribe of young clowns, jugglers and marionettist-ventriloquists disseminated in two neighboring bars [?] which form parts of a troupe led by a young female Chinese who has it in her iron grip. It is them who will burst the autism of the City-State. Unless they in turn, like others who talk alone in the streets, seized by behavioral troubles [?], lost in the labyrinth of a culture condemned to the underground.

In Singapore, attempted suicide is forbidden and punishable by prison. However, for many years, this cause of death has been sufficiently significant to be raised by the "Straits Times", the local pro-governmental daily. In 2006, it recognised that with an average of one death a day from suicide, it was one of the [top] three causes of mortality of 15-35 year olds. Last August, 8 adolescents, fans of the video game "Slavers", led by a self-proclaimed Taoist monk of 16 years, had signed a pact. They would die to become killers in the virtual world and eradicate demons. Access to the roof of their HDB block in Jalan Damai Kaki Bukit was closed off, so in the night they entered the bedroom of one of them, aged 10, and opened the window. 2 jumped into the void of the 9th storey and were crushed in the yard. The rest, horrified, renounced the project."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From "Your New Friend ,Ms Rama Djirama"



Filename: "Gift from my heart.jpg"

The iron bars are up for life

"The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

***

"The window was wide open, just as he knew it would be, and in he fluttered, and there was his mother lying asleep. Peter alighted softly on the wooden rail at the foot of the bed and had a good look at her. She lay with her head on her hand, and the hollow in the pillow was like a nest lined with her brown wavy hair. He remembered, though he had long forgotten it, that she always gave her hair a holiday at night. How sweet the frills of her nightgown were! He was very glad she was such a pretty mother.

But she looked sad, and he knew why she looked sad. One of her arms moved as if it wanted to go round something, and he knew what it wanted to go round.

' O mother!' said Peter to himself, ' if you just knew who is sitting on the rail at the foot of the bed.'

Very gently he patted the little mound that her feet made, and he could see by her face that she liked it. He knew he had but to say 'Mother' ever so softly, and she would wake up. They always wake up at once if it is you that says their name. Then she would give such a joyous cry and squeeze him tight. How nice that would be to him, but oh! how exquisitely delicious it would be to her. That, I am afraid, is how Peter regarded it. In returning to his mother he never doubted that he was giving her the greatest treat a woman can have. Nothing can be more splendid, he thought, than to have a little boy of your own. How proud of him they are! and very right and proper, too.

But why does Peter sit so long on the rail; why does he not tell his mother that he has come back?

I quite shrink from the truth, which is that he sat there in two minds. Sometimes he looked longingly at his mother, and sometimes he looked longingly at the window. Certainly it would be pleasant to be her boy again, but on the other hand, what times those had been in the Gardens!... Perhaps the drawer had creaked; at any rate, his mother woke up, for he heard her say 'Peter,' as if it was the most lovely word in the language. He remained sitting On the floor and held his breath, wondering how she knew that he had come back. If she said 'Peter' again, he meant to cry 'Mother' and run to her. But she spoke no more, she made little moans only, and when he next peeped at her she was once more asleep, with tears on her face...

In the end, you know, he flew away. Twice he came back from the window, wanting to kiss his mother, but he feared the delight of it might waken her, so at last he played her a lovely kiss on his pipe, and then he flew back to the Gardens...

[The fairies] were most anxious that he should remain in the Gardens to play to them... At last he said to them bravely, ' I wish now to go back to mother for ever and always,' they had to tickle his shoulders and let him go.

He went in a hurry in the end, because he had dreamt that his mother was crying, and he knew what was the great thing she cried for, and that a hug from her splendid Peter would quickly make her to smile. Oh! he felt sure of it, and so eager was he to be nestling in her arms that this time he flew straight to the window, which was always to be open for him.

But the window was closed, and there were iron bars on it, and peering inside he saw his mother sleeping peacefully with her arm around another little boy.

Peter called, 'Mother! mother!' but she heard him not; in vain he beat his little limbs against the iron bars. He had to fly back, sobbing, to the Gardens, and he never saw his dear again*. What a glorious boy he had meant to be to her! Ah, Peter' we who have made the great mistake, how differently we should all act at the second chance. But Solomon was right—there is no second chance, not for most of us. When we reach the window it is Lock-out Time. The iron bars are up for life."

--- Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens / James Matthew Barrie

The Unbelievable Compassion of Drug Barons

Dear Law Minister : miyagi.sg

"The only "signal" the State sends to anyone by maintaining and enforcing a mandatory death penalty is that killing people is justified as long as the purpose makes sense. In this case, the purpose is "sending the right signals to 'drug barons'."

Dude, "drug barons" do not care if their drug mules are hanged or let go after they're caught."

Lessons from our body parts


"People have two ears and only one mouth; I guess that means we should listen more, and talk less."

"Hmm. Two legs and only one head. Maybe you should think less, and fuck off."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Feynman on the Sharpshooter Fallacy

"You know the most amazing thing happened to me tonight as I was coming here to this lecture. You won't believe what happened when I passed through the parking lot. I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!"

This also sheds light on the Anthropic Principle.

Links - 10th May 2010

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife." - Douglas Adams

***

Save these girls from dole queue - "SIXTEEN Page 3 Girls in all their glory represent the very image of freedom in this country. But if Labour or the Lib Dems win the election, this could be the last time they are allowed to pose together. MPs Harriet Harman and Lynne Featherstone will move swiftly to change the law and ban Page 3 forever. Our national treasures - who even enjoy the Royal seal of approval from our future King Prince Charles - will be no more. And at a stroke the very liberties that put the Great into Great Britain will be torn asunder."

Brain shuts off in response to healer's prayer - life - "Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians. Only in the devout volunteers did the brain activity monitored by the researchers change in response to the prayers. Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian"

The dirty tricks of food photographers - "Motor oil, as a stand-in for unphotogenic syrups."

Fear of falling short sends men to dodgy docs - ""They inject oil and all sorts of concoctions under the skin of the penis to induce an inflammation"... The substances used in the jabs are potentially cancerous, said Dr Lim. Some men develop complications like hardened skin and ulcers... Often when a man cannot perform, he is blamed for it, said consultant psychiatrist Brian Yeo. "No one blames the girl. When it comes to sexual satisfaction, usually it is the man who initiates and provides pleasure," Dr Yeo said. "It's a guy thing. If you tell a man he is impotent, that is the greatest insult.""

A hymn to him: men are sexy, smart and good for women - "If men are no longer needed for producing sperm, perhaps they are no longer needed at all — that was the suggestion humming in the media and the blogosphere last week, often rather nastily disguised as humour, with lists of ways in which men are worse than useless. Misandry — the dislike of men — is a powerful force. It reminds me of my student days, when feminist meetings had signs at the door saying, “Women and girl children only”, and when extremists told us that all men were rapists. Free of men, the feminist separatists told us, we would be free of aggression, competition and war, as well as all that ideologically unsound and nasty penetration. Those ideas trickled down fast into the playground: I once found my eight-year-old daughter telling her poor little brother that boys are all rough and nasty and do all the bad things in the world. She was lisping the conventional orthodoxies around her, which still prevail... growing female triumphalism... has been accompanied by a growing bewilderment and displacement of men... I have always had a small, sneaking sympathy with Camille Paglia, who notoriously said that if civilisation had been left to women, we would still be living in grass huts. It is also true that if it were left entirely to men, the huts would all be burning down"

i.q. tests - "A century ago, in a less complicated world, there was very little familiarity with what we now consider basic abstract concepts... Examples of abstract notions that simply didn't exist in the minds of our nineteenth-century ancestors include the theory of natural selection (formulated in 1864), and the concepts of control group (1875) and random sample (1877). A century ago, the scientific method itself was foreign to most Americans. The general public had simply not yet been conditioned to think abstractly"

狮城男人:巴士地铁站 最多美女看 - "在巴士站和地铁站,瞄到美女的机会最高,不但能看到本地美女,还能看到漂亮的国外背包客... 只有6名男性认为酒吧和夜间娱乐场所是偷瞄的地方... 酒吧灯光昏暗,不必偷瞄,能光明正大的看,而且在那些场合女性也比较不介意男生多看他们几眼"
Someone: 狮城男人眼睛都生疮了

Judge rules Asbo on low-slung trousers illegal - "In a victory for skaters, hoodies and owners of oversized trousers everywhere, a teenager has won the right to wear his tracksuit bottoms halfway down his backside... “The proper punishment for the comically low-riding trousers favoured by some people is that we all think they look like idiots”"

Over 70 percent raw vegetables at restaurants infected with parasite (in Saigon)

World Cup welcome: A billion condoms and 40,000 sex workers. - "Arguably, the soccer World Cup is to the sex industry what the holiday season is to candy shops. A temporary surge of excited people feeling collectively festive, willing to pay for a bit of extra indulgence... “White men like black women,” she said proudly about the anticipated wave of soccer fans in search of exoticism. Scarlet says she uses condoms most of the time, unless men pay her extra to not use one. “Men don't like condoms,” she said. Most do, however, like soccer."

Determinants and Consequences of Female Attractiveness and Sexiness: Realistic Tests with Restaurant Waitresses - "The waitresses’ self-rated physical attractiveness increased with their breast sizes and decreased with their ages, waist-to-hip ratios, and body sizes... the waitresses’ tips varied with age in a negative, quadratic relationship, increased with breast size, increased with having blond hair, and decreased with body size"

A lesbian mother wants to be the only mommy on Mother's Day. - By Erika Milvy - Slate Magazine - "Mother's Day aside, I don't even like to share the term mommy. I find it a little jarring when I hear my partner on the phone saying, "This is Nora's mother…" And I'm always aware—when my daughter and I are out and about—that when I say, "We should call mama" or "Mama's waiting for us" that, to an eavesdropper's ear, I am someone other than this child's mother."
Time to end the bigotry and change it to Mothers' Day

Veterinarians more likely to commit suicide - "Vets are more comfortable with the concept of euthanasia, convinced as we are of its benefits and desensitized as we may be by our frequent application of this method as a valid way of alleviating suffering... "entrance to veterinary schools is limited to high achievers, whose personality traits may include neurosis, conscientiousness and perfectionism, all risk factors for suicidal behaviors""

Sir Ian McKellen is mistaken for a tramp on a Melbourne bench between Waiting for Godot rehearsals

Teacher sparks outcry with Mao comments - ""You can go to the mausoleum to see Chairman Mao Zedong, but don't forget it is China's Yasukuni Shrine, where a butcher with people's blood on his hands is worshipped"; and "The only correct thing Mao Zedong did after 1949 was die"... Yuan's remarks on Chinese history textbooks include statements claiming Japanese history textbooks have far fewer distortions than those in China; and that the material in Chinese history textbooks is less than 5 per cent truth, and the rest is pure nonsense. He has also said that the 30 million people who died during the Great Famine topped the death toll in Europe during the second world war. According to online posts, Yuan also said the Dala Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize because of his opposition to the Chinese invasion of Tibet."
Mao killed at least twice as many Chinese as the Japanese

Macau - Day 2, Part 5

"The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back." - Franklin P. Jones

***

Macau
Day 2 - 27th February - The Cotai Strip (Part 5)


I then got off the bus to check out the Cotai Strip (between Coloane and Taipa), Macau's equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip.

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Another Casino under Construction

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The Four Seasons

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"Shoppes at Four Seasons"

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"City of Dreams: Let's Get Lucky" - the only ones going to get lucky are the Casino Owners. In Mandarin, their slogan reads "You're gonna get lucky" - there is a subtle difference (there is the suggestion of a win-win sceniaro in the former, and a zero-sum game in the latter).

The Venetian looked like the one in Las Vegas (sadly, there're no photos in this post since Mediafire deleted my account years ago), except bigger. And of course, nothing like the real Venezia. Then again, all 3 shared some things in common: there weren't many locals, they were expensive, and they were designed to fleece you of your money.

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The Campanile at the Venetian

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Sculptures

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Deserted "lagoon"

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More of faux Venice

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Hallway

As with other casinos, photography was forbidden. Compared to the Grand Lisboa, the Venetian was cleaner, fewer people were smoking, there were no-smoking areas, it was more family friendly (though men are bigger gamblers anyway) and there were a lot more machines (at Lisboa I only saw dealers). The CCTV cameras were also less intrusive, being on the ceiling instead of perched above the tables. The shuttles were also free (supposedly at Lisboa you needed a ticket you could get at the Casino; I didn't test this personally but from the queue I saw at the Grand Lisboa I think no one cared). I didn't see the drinks/tim sum carts which the hostel guy mentioned though (I think I saw them at Lisboa), maybe I was in the wrong area (maybe it's the VIP areas which have them!)

Actually, the original Casino Lisboa was even more dingy, cramped, enclosed and cheena than the Grand Lisboa.

I tried looking for the street performers that had been advertised, but ended up on the Marco Polo Canal.

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How cunning. This appeals to Chinese pride by having a vaguely Western-/mixed-looking gondolier ferry a Chinese couple down the canal.

In the promotional leaflet, most of the gondoliers were ang moh, and one of the few East Asians looked exotic. In reality, of course, most were East Asian.

As Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng says: "We Chinese carry the burden of our history with us and the question of Western humiliation is always unconsciously inside us"

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They practised reverse colonialism in practice too: I think this strawberry blonde was Australian. What she sang sounded more like Mariah Carey than a Barcarolle.

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Living Statue. This was one of their "street performers". So sad.

I gave him the princely sum of 1 pataca (~S$0.20); I actually had S$0.10 in my bag but I didn't bother digging for it. Because his eyes were closed (and he couldn't see what I gave him), there was the hint of a smile on his face.


The Venetian's idea of a "Carnival". You don't get a Renaissance atmosphere with Mancini! Wah lao.

And so my quest to find someone in the stocks and bear fights ended in failure.

However, I did find a convenient if inelegant solution to the age-old problem: if you dress up as a fool (literally or figuratively), what's the best way to go off-duty with a modicum of dignity?

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A convenient way of keeping your stuff - using your props to help you.

There were a lot of computer terminals to aid visitors in finding their way.

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"The Manchester United Experience: Details - Telephone 81178008"
I guess "The Manchester United Experience" is all anyone needs to know.

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"The taste and quality of Fatburger inspires a fierce loyalty among customers that crosses all demographic lines" - presumably these demographics do not include Muslims and Vegetarians.
I found out that there was a Fatburger there. I'd heard that Fatburger was good when I was in California, but didn't get to try it (California Girl told me In 'N Out was good also, but I still haven't)

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"St Mark's Square"

Visiting the Venetian made me appreciate the difference between a Casino (Grand Lisboa) and an Integrated Resort (this) yet, apart from MICE, I am sure a majority of people would not have come if not for the casino.

This girl wearing knee-high boots with 2-inch heels, and a red cloth veil, and who had cloudy tendrils in her hair, sat on the bench near me and took off one boot. At first I thought she was going to change to more practical shoes, but her guy passed her 4-inch red heels with red sequins, which she laced up to her knee. Oh well.

I noticed that there were resort staff blocking entry to the lift lobbies giving access to the guest rooms. They were probably there to stop unsolicited masseurs.

Someone asked me to get her a Macanese cookbook, so I popped into a bookshop (Times!), and of 3 shelves of books (from floor to ceiling) on cooking, there were only 3 Portuguese cookbooks and 1 Macanese cookbook (which cost >S$40). Amazing. The markup seemed high, but I checked a few other books and the prices seemed alright, so.

In the same bookshop, the "women's interest" magazines and "men's interest" magazines both took up 8 shelves, but the former had spillover, and there were stealth women's interest categories like Decoration and Food. Interestingly, there was no porn, in keeping with the IR's squeaky clean image.

I decided to have Fatburger for dinner; it was my only non-Portuguese/Macanese meal when I was in Macau.

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The Fatburger sign

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Their assembly line

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Menu. Notice the Diet Coke option. Notice also that all the burger pictures show cheese, but cheese is not included in the printed prices.
A veggie burger is HK$50, but a chicken one (grilled or fried) is HK$40 and a Fatburget HK$30.

Interestingly, the receipt entitled the holder to a free Fatburger in their Hong Kong outlet in the next 5 days. I gave it to this English guy back at the hostel who was going to Hong Kong.

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In the food court, I saw Rasa Singapura: Flavours of Singapore and Rasa Malaysia: Flavours of Malaysia side by side. I was going to ask them who had better business, and if there was any rivalry between the two, before I noticed that they were part of the same chain.

Notice how they classify the dishes: Chicken Rice, Singapore Laksa, Bak Kut Teh and Fishball Noodles are "Singaporean", while Satay, Nasi Lemak, Roti Prata (note the spelling) and Bryani are "Malaysian".

It's a scam, I tell you.

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Dinner (~S$12, S$1 for bacon); I'd ordered fat fries but the girl gave them to someone else, so I settled for thin fries (vastly more popular with other customers) instead of waiting even longer and having a soggy burger.

It was crispier than McDonald's, with 2 layers of crispiness (to the former's 1). It'd have been improved with cheese in concert with the bacon as it was slightly dry (maybe it was left out by default due to lactose intolerance problems, but given the popularity of milk tea and cheese-baked food, maybe not); the latter was crispier than at Carl's Jr in Singapore since the ang mohs left after teaching locals how to run the place.

It made me wonder how much the markup was (I thought that was how they could afford to give patrons a free Fatburger in Hong Kong, but the prices there were the same)

My meal was made less perfect by a lady near me clipping her fingernails while I was finishing my fries. Now, I've eaten merrily while watching 2girls1cup, but this was gross. At first I thought she was PRC, but then 2 others returned and they chattered in Cantonese (maybe they were from Southern China, it was next door after all). Who knows, it might be worth going to Vegas to escape people like this.

After dinner, I tried to get out of the place by heading to the Shuttle Bus Station, my mood much improved by the air conditioning. Disoriented by the topography (doubtless meant to make you wager as much as possible, as often as possible), I finally emerged from one of the casino areas, when 3 girls approached me at a relatively deserted corner and asked me where the Shuttle Bus Station was, as they were also lost and trying to get back to Mainland Macau.

No, actually they asked me, "要去吗?" ("Do you want to go?")

Now, I was not altogether unsurprised that there were prostitutes roaming the floor area of the Venetian, but I was curious how they compared to the ones at the Hotel Lisboa. They certainly looked less tarty (like normal girls, in fact - probably to avoid Security) and hard to distinguish from some of the more aggressively dressed patrons I'd seen walking around (then again, maybe some of them were also prostitutes).

So I asked how much it would cost me. And was quoted a fantastic price of 1,000 patacas. I was almost tempted to ask if that price would get me 3 of them at the same time. And bear in mind too that I would have to provide the accommodation myself too - there was no "sauna" to do the dirty deed in. Preposterous.

Fortunately, they were also not as persistent as the ones in the Lisboa, probably also to avoid security. One did give me a piece of paper with her name and number on it though:

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Walking further on, I found an on-going attempt to shatter a world record:

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"The Venetian Macao House of Cards Guinness World Record Attempt. Bryan Berg Cardstacker: Guinness World Record Holder"

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Casinos of Cards

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Cotai Arena; The advantages of not using a SLR: "No professional cameras allowed". Notice that this is the only interdiction spelled out, in both languages no less.

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"Cirque du Soleil - Zaia"
Notice that this is "the most dazzling spectacle ever staged in Asia", not "the most dazzling spectacle ever staged worldwide". At least it wasn't "the most dazzling spectacle ever staged in Asia outside Japan"
In any case, I'd been quite bored when I'd watched Cirque du Soleil.

All in all, the Venetian was alright, but then there was a reason why the Venetian in Las Vegas had been one of the less interesting hotels-casinos there (and I'd only visited the more interesting-sounding ones). The sad bit was that it was probably the most interesting of the Macanese casinos - I'd asked the guy at the hostel what attractions each had, and he mentioned the Venetian's Gondola, Lisboa's Live Show and Wynn's Golden Tree and Dancing Fountain (but after the Bellagio...). Scraping the bottom of the barrel he mentioned one had a Live Band at its Bar (are you kidding?!) People in Macau are more hardcore - the Chinese love their gambling.

There was a "知心按摩中心" ("Heart-Knowing Massage Centre"). Uhh. Does clean massage even exist in Macau?!

A while after returning to my hostel, I felt hungry. Well, actually I just wanted to try McDonald's Double Ham Burger.

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"The scope of this area is clean in progress"

They actually sold the Sausage McMuffin with Egg for lunch and dinner also. Despite it being made with a REAL PORK patty, I opted for the Double Ham Burger as I hadn't had it before.

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The McDonalds Double Pork Burger. Because a Single Pork Patty just isn't enough.
Japan was still better though; McPork FTW!

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It seemed a less brown version of the brrakfast sausage.

On my way back to the hostel I saw people selling Dim Sum in the street:

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There was even an English menu. Notice that Lor Mai Kai is only available in the winter (?!)

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For some reason this "Vila Nam Long" amused me.

When I got back I examined some pamphlets I'd been passed the previous evening:

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The promotional leaflets featured Whites and Blacks as well as Asians (and the pamphelts boasted of offering women from many countries), even though they were in Mandarin only. Visitors to Macau are very open-minded and do not discriminate racially, and businesses provide them with what they want (need), though it is probably a special order item.

What I didn't understand was how and why all charged the same price - 138 dollars for 2 hours. Maybe the price was in US Dollars, because it was certainly not in Patacas!

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I love how the first one promises "bona fide Macanese ladies" - at the same price as Foreign Talent, no less.

That evening at the hostel, there was a peculiar burst of activity. 3 girls (one Caucasian, one Japanese and one Filipino) and 4 guys (2 East Asians, 2 Caucasian) stormed into the common area, and it seemed the guys had to change in order to go clubbing (it seems that there as here, female dress codes are a lot more liberal than male). 2 of the guys (East Asians) and one of the girls (who seemed to be Filipino) started speaking in German, then the Caucasian girl told the Japanese girl something about flying from Southern Germany.

The Japanese girl, who was wearing a half-thigh length coat and boots which almost hit the knee, asked the Filipino Girl, "You don't feel hot?". This was because the Filipina was wearing, over a tank top, one of those half-cardigans which only go down to the bust (so you know they are not primarily for warmth but for emphasising the bust, covering the shoulders and making an outfit look more formal). Next, the Filipina asked the Japanese girl the same question. The Japanese girl admitted that she was hot, but said she'd put her getup in the cloakroom later.

The Japanese girl then spoke what sounded like very fluent Cantonese to one of the Asian guys.

What a multilingual group!

It doesn't make much sense to change your money into Patacas unless you're going to spend a lot. At one money changer I saw, the spread for HKD to Patacas was 1.01-1.05, which was ridiculous. Casinos were more competitive but the rate for buying Patacas was still 1.02x HKD so there was no point.

Is "去" ("Go") a pun on "来" ("Come")?


Comment:

"i think u're the only person i know who visits these places in macau...never seen al these temples man..

seriously man, its a v unusual itinerary from others"
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